Dec 22, 2012
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Pre-Medical
Good morning all,

What are my chances at top 50, top 20 schools? I will probably stay in-state but I will apply broadly and for kicks and giggles.

I'm an ORM with a ~3.85 sGPA and 3.9 cGPA and 13P/10V/12B MCAT.

I have done research for 2 years with 1 first author pub in a ~4.0 impact factor journal, 1 third author pub, a few research supply/travel grants, reviewer for an undergrad research journal, and 7 poster presentations/4 oral presentations (with 4 awards) at local,national levels. I am also a Goldwater & Beckman scholar if that adds anything.

I have a lot of teaching experiences (one of my most meaningful activities). I have TA'ed 2 different courses as a lab instructor and been a Supplemental Instruction leader for 3 courses over 2 years. I also teach for Kaplan on the side. I also used to tutor privately but I may not add this experience to the list since I have TA etc.

I'm a pretty big health freak. I play table tennis (a.k.a. ping pong). This is also one of my most significant activities. I actually came into college having played ping pong once or twice at parties and I was pretty bad at it lol (literally everyone beat me). But I just got hooked for some reason and I kept playing and playing and eventually I became pretty good (youtube quality, although not like the pros by any means). I started a table tennis club which grew from about 12 members the first year to over 50 the second year and it has been really a unique experience as I have met people I would have never imagined through playing ping pong. It's a sport/game that people of all ages can play and I have met the people I went on to shadow, one of the deans of the medical school at my univ, lots of upperclassmen connections, etc. I have won several tournaments both within the school and outside the school; the club competes intercollegiately now. I know ping pong is not taken seriously as a sport in the US but it really has allowed me to develop as a person. Also, I know a lot of Asians stereotypically play ping pong as a sport but this is something that I was not forced upon by my parents and I truly love it). Outside of ping pong, I run a lot (my team won the marathon relay at a big Boston Marathon qualifier event) and do a lot of weight lifting (I recently set the record in a local bench press meet for my weight class).

As for volunteer work, I have volunteered at the YMCA for a semester (~40 hours) and at a local hospital for a semester (~60 hours). I also did the cookie-cutter volunteer abroad for 2 weeks experience but I actually did teaching English for an underserved community because I love to teach. I am starting a program up at a local center where I help teens with down syndrome play ping pong. I think this is my biggest weak point (the volunteer, clinical or non-clinical).

I have shadowed about 40 hours in several specialties including primary care. I have been part of an internship for a semester in the ER where I have been allowed to shadow (hours not included) and help with clinical research.

I have lots of awards & honors for various academic things but I don't believe they are very significant. I have a few other EC's that I will refrain from adding here. BTW I'm the only Asian I know that can't play an instrument or do artsy stuff lol.

I would assume my LORs to be very strong and I have not started on my PS yet. I consider myself a pretty good presenter and interviewer.

Sorry for the long read; any comments appreciated! Happy Holidays!
 

mcloaf

7+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2012
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Chances very good. Get some good editors for your PS, get your applications in early, and enjoy the application cycle.
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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Your chances look very good. The top research schools will love your research experience. Make sure to play up your Goldwater and Beckman scholarships. They're pretty prestigious scholarships, but it seems that most adcom members don't know what they are.

Are you continuing your volunteer work until app time? That is most lacking in your app (both clinical and non-clinical).
 
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OP
Si Se Puede
Dec 22, 2012
137
2
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Pre-Medical
Unfortunately due to all my other commitments, my volunteer has taken a hit...I am currently only doing volunteer with helping down syndrome teens play ping pong. I might add some sort of clinical volunteer like hospice care but I am not sure if adcoms like to see it a semester before applying haha.

Now, one thing I have done a lot of (like over 100 hours) is volunteer tutor lots of people in my university that were recommended to me by professors. I started off asking for pay but then I felt bad because most of them really tried hard and had night jobs etc so I stopped charging and became involved with TA/SI to help more students without feeling like I burdened them financially. But I don't think I will add this experience since it is under teaching and it is not really verifiable unless you talk to all the individual students I tutored.

I guess my problem was that I did very little Freshman year when I had more time to volunteer. But done is done so I gotta make the best of what I got :)

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Edit: I just hope that my emphasis on my 3 most significant activities (research, teaching, ping pong) and how most of my volunteer work that I do is related to my passions will help convey that I am genuine about what I do and that I don't do it to check a box. However, I guess this can be taken negatively if they see it as me disliking serving people in other ways but I don't believe that is a likely case.
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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Unfortunately due to all my other commitments, my volunteer has taken a hit...I am currently only doing volunteer with helping down syndrome teens play ping pong. I might add some sort of clinical volunteer like hospice care but I am not sure if adcoms like to see it a semester before applying haha.

Now, one thing I have done a lot of (like over 100 hours) is volunteer tutor lots of people in my university that were recommended to me by professors. I started off asking for pay but then I felt bad because most of them really tried hard and had night jobs etc so I stopped charging and became involved with TA/SI to help more students without feeling like I burdened them financially. But I don't think I will add this experience since it is under teaching and it is not really verifiable unless you talk to all the individual students I tutored.

I guess my problem was that I did very little Freshman year when I had more time to volunteer. But done is done so I gotta make the best of what I got :)

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Edit: I just hope that my emphasis on my 3 most significant activities (research, teaching, ping pong) and how most of my volunteer work that I do is related to my passions will help convey that I am genuine about what I do and that I don't do it to check a box. However, I guess this can be taken negatively if they see it as me disliking serving people in other ways but I don't believe that is a likely case.
Yes, I think the dearth of volunteering will hurt a bit. Could you go back to the hospital? When did you volunteer there? From the looks of it, it doesn't look like you volunteered there this semester.

The research experiences will definitely help your app tremendously at the top schools, but they're a crapshoot anyway and you don't want to go through the process wondering what would have happened if you had gotten more volunteering experiences under your belt.
 
OP
Si Se Puede
Dec 22, 2012
137
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I probably could; I am a junior right now and I volunteered Freshman Spring and Summer at the hospital. YMCA was Freshman Fall. The down syndrome volunteer is pretty recent (started it Junior mid-Fall).

I am actually a little afraid that my in-state schools will look at my app negatively since they are primary care institutions (and like to see volunteer work/clinical experience) although they have nice medical research centers.

Since I had shadowed several specialities although briefly and have done the ER internship, along with my hospital volunteer work, I think my clinical experiences are fine (besides, the hospital volunteer gig wasn't really informative to me but the shadowing and ER internship was VERY eye-opening in terms of patient-doc interaction, time documenting, etc). Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I should worry about is volunteering, regardless of whether its clinical or non-clinical?
 

nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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I probably could; I am a junior right now and I volunteered Freshman Spring and Summer at the hospital. YMCA was Freshman Fall. The down syndrome volunteer is pretty recent (started it Junior mid-Fall).

I am actually a little afraid that my in-state schools will look at my app negatively since they are primary care institutions (and like to see volunteer work/clinical experience) although they have nice medical research centers.

Since I had shadowed several specialities although briefly and have done the ER internship, along with my hospital volunteer work, I think my clinical experiences are fine (besides, the hospital volunteer gig wasn't really informative to me but the shadowing and ER internship was VERY eye-opening in terms of patient-doc interaction, time documenting, etc). Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I should worry about is volunteering, regardless of whether its clinical or non-clinical?
I think both. Schools seem to be more forgiving of non-clincal volunteering, but they seem to be much less forgiving about a lack of clinical experiences. Since your state schools are also primary care institutions, they will probably like to see more volunteerism for serving others. Like I said before, you don't really want to go through this app process half way and start having regrets about your app and start wondering what would have happened if you had more volunteering. (Even though I'm happy with the way my cycle is turning out, I am regretting 2-3 things in my app.)
 

histidine

5+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2013
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I think you'll have you'll have multiple acceptances at schools ranked 20-50. You definitely have a shot at T20. If the rank of the school doesn't matter much to you, keep up your volunteering this year and apply for the 2014-2015 cycle. If you really want T20, I think if you took a gap year to pursue a research fellowship/additional volunteering that would make a T20 spot highly likely.

Personally, I'd apply next year unless you were already toying with the idea of taking a gap year for personal reasons other than strengthening your app.
 
OP
Si Se Puede
Dec 22, 2012
137
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Yea I am going to apply next year as I will most likely choose my in-state school. This may sound ludicrous but I have been feeling slightly uneasy about the in-state primary care institutions rejecting me since I am research heavy and lacking on the volunteer side. The only reason I would defer is if I might not get into my state school which also happens to be the univ I am attending for undergrad.
 

darkjedi

how did this get here I am not good with computer
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Isn't a Goldwater only for people doing science careers?

Your chances are definitely good!
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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Isn't a Goldwater only for people doing science careers?

Your chances are definitely good!
Yeah, but like summer programs, most people fudge and say something like they want to pursue an MD-PhD lol.
 
OP
Si Se Puede
Dec 22, 2012
137
2
Status
Pre-Medical
You can apply to Goldwater as MD/PhD. I was originally going to apply to MD/PhD programs but after talking to a lot of people and seeing how my MCAT is barely breaking the ice especially for an ORM in those programs, I decided to go MD only. Also, for the programs which consider applicants as MD only if rejected from MD/PhD, the transfer is late in the application cycle and a gamble from what I understand.
 

seeinghowitgoes

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Jul 6, 2012
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I would imagine you'll get into some top 20 with your stats and research focus (I think having a focus, and therefore being able to tell a specialized story, is a big separator). I know some have suggested checking the volunteer box with the time you have left as it would help your cause, but I actually think what you've got already is fine when combined with what I imagine is a very coherent research focus. At some point, and especially for the most competitive opportunities (definitely concerning prestigious fellowship opportunities, and thus I would imagine for medical school), the application game becomes more about presenting an impressive and coherent story than about proving you're overall well-rounded.

This is totally anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth, but I had similar stats and very little "volunteering" on my application (using the AMCAS label, whatever it was, I might have had one experience with that label) but wasn't hindered at all because (or at least I think because) the package I meant to present wasn't predicated upon proving I was somebody with a lot of traditional volunteering experiences.

Essentially what I guess I'm saying is you're in a great position, just remember to rely on and sell your strengths and that the application game is just that, a game; you are likely to have some disapointment even with all of your accomplishments to date.

On a side note, perhaps look at CCLCM and Pitt for their research-focused MD experiences, they seem like they might be a good fit.
 
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